Sorry to hear the strobe died, i was thinking of trying to get one to wor too. In the shots i have tryed with my macro ring flash the subject has still been blurred (see the example in the link above), i have a metz, that i will probably have to bounce to get the light levels down enough but i would have thought it would take even longer than the ring? Is there a measurement of how long a flash takes to fire? so if i do get another one i know what to look for? Or what to look for in a strobe.
Also any sugestions for subject matter that hasnt been done to death before? shooting tomatoes and eggs gets a bit messy and there are loads of pics on the net. I was thinking of trying to get some kind of smoke system going so as the shock waves of the impact may be visable, but difficult as like you say the whole thing has to be blacked out (which i did in a packing case) so the smoke tends to get in the way of the lense.